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'No immediate risk' from 2.5-million-litre effluent spill at B.C. fibreboard plant

There was a spill on the line between the WestPine Medium-Density Fibreboard factory and pulp mill in Quesnel. Officials say a valve has been fixed and cleanup is complete.

The Environment Ministry of British Columbia has stated that the 2.5 million litre effluent spill from a fibreboard factory in Quesnel does not present an immediate danger to public safety.

According to a statement, the spill that occurred on Monday from the WestPine Medium-Density Fibreboard plant into a gravel pit has been evaluated and has not affected any waterways.

The owner of the factory, West Fraser, mentioned in a statement that they have replaced a valve on a failed line between the factory and a pulp mill, and the cleanup is finished.

A spokeswoman for West Fraser, Joyce Wagenaar, explained in the statement that the effluent falls within B.C.'s water quality safety standards based on an initial assessment.

She mentioned that the effluent contains concentrations of calcium carbonate and chloride, and is described as 'water softener backwash'.

The ministry stated that an environmental emergency officer plans to visit the site this week to ensure that West Fraser is taking appropriate action.

The ministry's statement confirmed that Northern Health and the First Nations Health Authority have been informed, and no concerns have been raised so far regarding public health impacts, especially related to drinking water.

The ministry currently does not see any immediate or significant risk to the environment.


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